The incredibly skanky internet has opened its virtual legs for yet another imaginary boyfriend. To recap: The internet’s illustrious dating history includes a wide array of diverse, handsome, often nerdy exes. Notable internet boyfriends have included human cheekbone Benedict Cumberbatch and perfect pair of eyebrows Riz Ahmed. The list goes on and on—Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Rami Malek, Oscar Isaac, and now, Jonah Hill. *Record scratch* *freeze frame* yup, that Jonah Hill. I bet you’re wondering how we ended up in this situation.
According to the internet, aka a bunch of tweets, the famously high-maintenance actor best known for playing chubby sidekicks and Channing Tatum’s cooler is having a hot streak. From people’s reactions to the paparazzi pictures of Hill’s newly toned physique, you would think that they’d never heard of male mediocrity before. Not since Drake discovered protein powder and mirror selfies has one man’s physical transformation inspired so much online thirst.
Of course, as all of you female Superbad stans already know (*crickets*), Hill has gone through more bodies in the past decade than Jeffrey Dahmer. His physiques can be linked to specific films; after his initial streak of chubby, comedic roles, the actor lost 40 pounds for Moneyball in 2011, only to gain some of the weight back and then drop it again for 2012’s 21 Jump Street. Ahead of filming 2016’s War Dogs, Hill packed on a substantial number of pounds.
Still, we were not ready for the remarkably fit Jonah Hill that emerged this month, taking L.A. by storm in a series of workout tanks. In my personal favorite picture, the artist who will now be known as “Bronah Hill” is clutching a healthy-looking smoothie and staring forlornly into his own carb-free future. He’s almost scrawny, but with the arm musculature of a man who likes to take pictures of himself lifting at the gym. He’s wearing a thin chain around his neck and sporting artful stubble. His tattoo sort of looks like a stick and poke, but it is clearly not a stick and poke.
Bronah Hill is the perfect combination of the fitness bro and the sad boi. He looks like what would happen if the Under Armour catalog and the Urban Outfitters website made love to one another. He looks like he’s leaving a bad Bumble date, but isn’t self-aware enough to realize that he’s the reason why it went badly. He looks like he just blew his JV basketball tryout. He looks like someone told him that the gluten-free keg is tapped. He looks like he makes his mom drive him into the city from Tenafly and drop him off at the Chelsea Modell’s. He looks like the one straight guy in a SoulCycle class.
Of course, the funniest thing about Jonah Hill 4 or 5.0 is how visibly upset he is, as though he’s been subsisting on a crash diet of shirtless pictures of Channing Tatum, green juice, and shame. Sadness doesn’t even come close to describing the harrowing look in Jonah Hill’s eyes. He doesn’t just look like his dog died—he looks like his pledge master mixed the ashes of his dead dog into the smoothie and ordered him to eat it, maggot. In this way, Hill’s fitness victory is fated to resonate with internet denizens. We’re not just applauding Jonah Hill because he’s “hot” now; we’re celebrating him because, in the reflection of his rapid weight fluctuations and painful efforts to conform to a punishing societal standard of beauty, we see ourselves. Jonah Hill is the opposite of the naturally thin Instagram model who pretends to genuinely enjoy the taste of raw kale. Jonah Hill wants—but will not let himself have—a pizza. He may never be Channing Tatum, but boy does he get points for trying.
That being said, “points for trying” might actually be the problem here. After all, moderately attractive women who lose a lot of weight don’t get “points for trying,” let alone sweet social media posts and acting gigs. Women in Hollywood don’t receive supportive shout-outs for going on a juice cleanse; they’re just expected to look like starving, perfect tens if they ever want to work again. Meanwhile Jonah Hill, a white dude, dieted for a few months and the internet showered him with cookies—sorry, Oreo Thins.
On top of everything else, this internet adoration seems to imply that Jonah Hill getting hot marks is some huge personal or professional victory for him, which is certainly not the case. In addition to, you know, multiple Oscar nominations, I am quite confident that a bigger Jonah Hill did just fine with the ladies—one, because he’s funny, and two, because he’s freaking famous. As Daily Beast Reporter Kelly Weill astutely noted, “I refuse to grade him on a curve just because he’s famous. If anything, it should curve down. For a normal, non-celebrity he’s o k a y, but someone you’d probably brush off at a bar unless he was really charming. For a celeb, not hot.”
Senior entertainment reporter Kevin Fallon agreed, opining, “It is thrilling that he is losing weight and buffing up, but that does not a hot person make. It’s like drawing biceps on a hot dog. Particularly this hot dog.”
Meet the internet’s new boyfriend: this hot dog.
But looks come and go, and what really matters is what’s on the inside, right? Well here’s the thing: Jonah Hill’s insides may suck. In This Is the End, the star-packed apocalypse movie, Hill played an exaggerated version of himself as one of the worst people you will ever meet. While Hill’s character was obviously crafted for comedy, a Rolling Stone interview he did to promote the film showed that Hill may not have had to dig very deep for his narcissistic, pretentious performance. At one point, Hill bragged, “I’ve done one of the biggest challenges you can do in Hollywood, which is transition from being a comedic actor to being a serious actor, and I’m really prideful of that. I could have made a billion dollars doing every big comedy of the last 10 years and didn’t, in order to form a whole other life for myself.” Throughout the uncomfortable interview, he refuses to answer “dumb questions” that he finds to be beneath him, and generally comes off as a pretty poor sport.
If anything, our new obsession with objectifying Jonah Hill betrays just how low our societal standards are right now. In a world of mama’s boys, fuckbois, emotional manipulators, and Chainsmokers fans, maybe women are sadly predisposed to accept a subpar sex symbol. I get it—Jonah Hill, with his rumored bad personality and pretty-cute new body looks like the kind of guy you could actually get with—or at least get ghosted by after one mediocre Tinder date (he’ll order the açaí bowl, for two). But listen here, horny folks: Celebrity crushes are supposed to be a fantasy, not the sort of depressing mental calculus/romantic compromise that we do in our daily lives. Don’t settle for Jonah Hill just because he looks better now, and maybe Channing Tatum will come over for dinner sometimes, and War Dogs wasn’t that bad. Let’s all collectively challenge ourselves to get less aroused by moderately attractive dudes who seem like they’ll be mean to us. Or at the very least, let’s dial down the Jonah Hill adulation until the actor discovers leg day.